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7pm Thursday 1st May

RMIT BUILDING 50
(Orr Street, off Victoria Street)
Gold coin donation

Urban Spaces and Cultures of Tokyo


Darko Radovic

This talk will give an visual overview of some of the well-known parts of Tokyo, and spaces and
activities which make those precincts vibrant and distinctive. A particular focus will be at Nezu
and Yanaka, two largely residential parts of the Japanese capital city which were lucky enough
to survive both the catastrophic post-earthquake conflagration in 1923 and fires which
followed American bombing in 1945. As such, Nezu and Yanaka - provide the most valuable
‘vertical’ connection with the past, places with patina which pre-dates the drama of the
Japanese encounter with the West. In terms of urban design and architecture, they exemplify a
number of spatial qualities which can be seen as peculiar, or even unique to the Japanese city.

The starting position of the research behind this talk (which was conducted at the University of
Tokyo 2006-2008) is that environmental sustainability and cultural sustainability can never be
separated, that built spaces which truly respond to the environmental condition always belong
to culture of the place in and for which they were created. That position will frame the conclu-
sion- that Nezu and Yanaka in Tokyo, and similar living historic environments worldwide,
contain messages of critical importance for sustainable urban development.
Darko Radovic is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Architecture, Building
and Planning at the University of Melbourne. He received his doctorate in SU PPORTERS
Architecture and Urbanism from the University of Belgrade, Yugoslavia, and
taught, researched and practised architecture and urbanism in Europe,
Australia and Asia. Most recently (2006-2008), he was a Professor of Architec-
ture and Urban Design for the Centre for Sustainable Urban Regeneration at
the University of Tokyo,
graphics by vdd.com.au
Darko’s investigation of the concepts of urbanity and sustainable develop-
ment focuses at culturally and environmentally diverse contexts, which
exemplify and expose difference and offer encounter with the other. He is
the co-author of Green City: Sustainable Homes, Sustainable Suburbs (UNSW
Press/Routledge 2005), Cross-Cultural Urban Design: Global or Local
Practice? (Routledge 2007), and the author of Urbophilia (the University of
Belgrade, 2007) and Another Tokyo (University of Tokyo, 2008).

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